Starsoup – Castles Of Sand (2018) (Submission)


Castles Of Sand

Metalism Records

There was a time when I enjoyed the massive variety of music bound within Starsoup, but Castles Of Sand is more or less where that enjoyment hits a wall and backs up completely. While I do think that the band has finally found their own unique sound, I can’t say that I’m entirely happy with the way in which these tracks were ordered. Yes, there are heavy songs on the disc – about four or five of them. The album even begins with the hard rock and progressive mixture of “The Catcher In The Lie” but then sends us into the alternative rock of “Into The Woods.” That isn’t to say that the solo here isn’t breathtaking, but it’s certainly a little more cheery than I would have expected. “Brother’s Plea” works better at mixing the prog with the overall thump of the band, complete with a beautiful flute section. “Your World Is Dead” starts out light, but seems to add a few touches of guitar based bravado in areas, which works for it. The song is also based on The Dark Tower, which I gleamed almost immediately. “Rumors Of Better Love” sounds like the band took a little from Poison and certainly doesn’t hit for me. “Escapist” is the last heavy cut here with vocals, complete with a strong chorus that works well enough for it. “Winter In Shire” is a puffy little piece that feels like a cross between folk music and a fifties love song. It’s a bit of an odd note, but this is Starsoup, so that is to be expected. Thankfully, we have the majestic epic “Castle” to balance things out, yet it also provides our final heavy note on the disc. Yep, the rest of the album is more or less made up of lighter and more somber or romantic tracks. As I stated, this track is a definite epic and shows the kind of sound and style that I think would really set these guys off into the mainstream. With a powerful guitar and synth performance, this is the very definition of a great instrumental. Though “The World That Has Moved On” is also based on The Dark Tower, it was hardly what I would’ve expected from the band at this point. Or maybe not. Hard to tell. In any case, I can commend the great duet between male and female vocals here and feel that it is a rather strong piece in retrospect. After that though, we are greeted by “Light Up The Stars”, “Moon On The Shore” and “Road To Sunset” which are all lighter cuts. As in, complete removal of thumping bass riffs. From light-hearted radio rock we move into a nearly ambient piano composition and then move into what makes me think of Elton John or The Beatles. If nothing else, Starsoup have proved their diversity on this release, which isn’t bad – it’s just not quite to my taste. Castles Of Sand is definitely more accessible than previous releases, but I’m not exactly digging it as much as I’d like. Again, this is more or less where I hit the wall when it comes to these Russian experimentalists and I feel that this a bit of an odd direction for the band. Still, I can’t help but wonder what’s next.

(12 Tracks, 50:00)


Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)



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